Monday 22 July 2019

Aidan Gillen shares Charlie Haughey's love affair with Kerry

Aidan Gillen in Charlie
Aidan Gillen in Charlie
Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey in 'Charlie'.
Charlie: Peter O'Meara, who plays Brian Lenihan Snr in RTE's new drama 'Charlie' with fellow-cast members Aidan Gillen, left, and Risteard Cooper outside Government Buildings. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Aidan Gillen who plays Charlie Haughey and Lucy Cohu who plays Terry Keane
Aidan Gillen
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Aidan Gillen may be struggling to understand Charles Haughey, but a love of Kerry unites the pair.

The former Love/Hate actor who took on the challenging role of the enigmatic late Taoiseach in RTE drama Charlie admitted he still felt he didn't quite know everything about him.

Gillen previously told the Herald that there was something "unknowable" about the divisive Donnycarney politician.

"There's certainly some mystery as to what would drive you to go on the journey that he did in the way that he did," he said.

But when it comes to west Kerry, it seems the two men would have found common ground.

Gillen lived there for four years with his family before relocating to Dublin.

"Dingle was really invigorating. It was four of the best years of my life," he said.

"It wasn't me deciding to leave and live in the wilds, but over the years I've found that wherever you live, the work is somewhere else.

"During that time I worked a lot in London and I was doing Love/Hate too.

"When we were living in Kerry, my kids were the only ones who hadn't seen Love/Hate."

READ: Proper Charlie: Aidan Gillen on how acting and children keep him young

The actor dabbled in presenting while living in the southwest on Other Voices.

In a case of life imitating art, his affection for the Kingdom bears a striking resemblance to that of the man he is portraying in Charlie.

Throughout his life, Haughey spent much of his free time in Kerry and locals there were fond of him.

In 2005, Dingle fisherman unveiled a stone and bronze sculpture of him to commemorate his work on behalf of the port.

The controversial Fianna Fail politician bought one of the Blasket Islands, Inishvickillane, off Kerry in 1974.

He treated the island as a private retreat, and on exiting public life he lived there until his death in 2006.

Since the 1970s, the late Taoiseach also played an integral part in one of the biggest events on the Dingle calendar. Every year, the avid sailor and yacht-owner fired the starting cannon for the Dingle Regatta from the pier.


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